Wearable Tech

Apple fine-tunes timing on Apple Watch arrivals

Some customers who preordered seem likely to get their smartwatch earlier than expected, while new buyers in a hurry may be able to pick one up at a fashion outlet.

An Apple Watch could be in your hand -- or, rather, on your wrist -- sooner than anticipated.

Apple has consistently been telling buyers of its new smartwatch , which officially launches Friday, that they may need to wait to receive their device. But the company has ever-so-slightly changed its tune.

According to a statement that Apple sent to CNET on Thursday:

We're happy to be updating many customers today with the news that their Apple Watch will arrive sooner than expected. Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received. We know many customers are still facing long lead times and we appreciate their patience.
The Apple Watch could come your way sooner than you think. Apple

Several readers of 9to5Mac say their order status has changed from "processing" to "preparing for shipment." Some customers are also starting to see credit-card charges for their Apple Watch orders, which would only happen if the devices were ready to ship.

Some may receive them as soon as Friday, according to MacRumors. A notice sent to some customers who preordered indicates an arrival that day.

At its retail stores, the company requires you to make a reservation to order the watch, which then arrives at some point at the store or at your home. Apple has also been urging people to order the wearable over the Internet through the online Apple Store or the Apple Store app. The wait times listed online for most of the models now show a June time frame for delivery.

But what if you haven't preordered the Apple Watch and are now eager to get one? Apple has stated that the device won't be available for immediate purchase at its Apple Stores. But an Apple Store isn't your only option. The watch is also being sold at boutiques and fashion outlets. And you might just be able to walk out with an Apple Watch from one of these retailers.

Such stores as Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London (but not the one in New York), Maxfield in Los Angeles, Colette in Paris, Corner in Berlin and 10 Corso Como in Milan all list the Apple Watch as "in-store 4.24.15" on their home pages, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

But whether you can walk out of one of those stores with the smartwatch on your wrist depends on which model you choose. The Apple Watch, the company's long-awaited entrant in the market for smart wearables, comes in three versions: the entry-level Sport version that starts at $349, the midlevel Apple Watch starting at $549 and the Apple Watch Edition with a starting price of $10,000.

Adrian Joffe, chief executive of Dover Street Market, told the Times that his company would have around 350 Apple Watches in its Ginza store and 570 in its London store. But those of you willing to shell out the money for the gold Edition are out of luck -- that version is currently on backorder at Dover Street Market.